The Longboat Key Town Commission voted to purchase and protect the Sister Keys on July 10, 1992 after a successful lobbying campaign by the Sister Keys Conservancy (started in 1989). The grass roots organization understood the importance of protecting a natural gulf coast Island but even they never realized what an important nature preserve the islands would represent in 2022.
When the real estate arm of St. Joe Paper Company approached the Town in 2006 to use the islands as a mitigation project to offset dredging of the proposed (but never built by them) Perico Island few appreciated what the change would mean to the local environment today. During that project all the invasive plants were removed, a two acre wetland was created and the islands were planted with all native species. The value of protecting natural space has never been more important as a burgeoning population has sent land values into the stratosphere. The growth is stressing the natural systems that brought people to the region and is pivotal to the economy. There has been no better time to point out he importance and the promise of working to protect the gulf coast.